UNITED Nations (UN) health experts have warned that a mental illness crisis is looming as millions of people are surrounded by death and disease and forced into isolation and poverty by the global coronavirus pandemic.
Worldwide, 4.56m people have been affected by the pandemic in 213 countries, leading to 304,768 deaths. Apart from the health implications, the pandemic has also forced a shutdown of economies worldwide, creating hunger, poverty and destitution, with the situation predicted to get worse as the economic impact of the lockdown takes its toll.
Presenting a UN report and policy guidance on Covid-19 and mental health yesterday, Devora Kestel, the director of the World Health Organisation’s Mental Health Department, said that an upsurge in the number and the severity of mental illnesses were likely. She advised that governments should put the issue in front and centre of their responses.
Ms Kestel, said: “The isolation, the fear, the uncertainty, the economic turmoil, they all cause, or could cause psychological distress. The mental health and wellbeing of whole societies have been severely impacted by this crisis and are a priority to be addressed urgently.”